Yankees great Bernie Williams among 3 to be honored at William Paterson Legacy Award dinner

Former center fielder turned Latin Grammy-nominated guitarist joins Paverd (technology lawyer) and Gallo (winemaker) at annual event April 17

Bernie Williams, a former New York Yankees great turned Latin Grammy-nominated guitarist and composer; alumna Valerie Paverd, a New York City-based technology, digital transformation and outsourcing attorney; and Gallo, a global leader in wine and spirits, will be honored as the William Paterson University Foundation hosts its 33rd annual Legacy Award Gala.

The event will be held April 17 at the Grove in Cedar Grove.

The awards recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate leadership in the community and are dedicated to the success of students at William Paterson University.

Williams, who spoke and performed as part of the university’s Distinguished Lecturer Series in 2010, will be honored as Distinguished Friend, Paverd will be honored as Distinguished Alumna and Gallo will be honored as Distinguished Organization.

The Legacy Award Gala is the foundation’s largest event to raise funds to support the university’s mission of promoting student success and academic excellence through student scholarships. All proceeds from the gala directly fund academic scholarships at William Paterson University, thereby directly affecting the lives of students — most of whom rely on scholarships to complete their education.

“I am excited to celebrate this year’s honorees, who represent the best of William Paterson’s spirit of excellence and service,” William Paterson President Richard Helldobler said. “We are grateful for their participation in what promises to again be a wonderful event. Together with the support of so many from across the university community, their involvement with the gala will greatly benefit our students, supporting them on their paths to earning their degrees and building great futures.”

Pam Ferguson, president of the William Paterson University Foundation and vice president for institutional advancement, agreed.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to highlight our loyal and supportive alumni, friends, faculty and corporate partners,” she said. “On behalf of the entire university community, I thank them for their partnership, leadership and friendship — and for supporting our students.”

Williams, who spent his entire 16-year Major League Baseball career as a center fielder for the Yankees, discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time and began playing the guitar at age 8.

Williams first connected with William Paterson’s Jazz Studies Program in 2010, when he performed on campus with the William Paterson Jazz Orchestra as part of a unique Distinguished Lecturer Series program. During the event, Williams performed six of his own contemporary jazz compositions, which were arranged by William Paterson graduate music students; discussed his 16-year baseball career; and performed his own arrangement of the classic baseball tune “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” He also joined the WP Jazz Orchestra as a special guest performer at the university’s 2011 Collage! concert, an event that showcases the talents of William Paterson’s music faculty and students.

Paverd is a partner in the Technology, Commercial and Government Practice of the international law firm BCLP. She serves as a strategic advocate for clients undertaking extensive technology transformation programs that optimize customer experiences, improve organizational functioning and establish strong vendor partnerships.

Gallo is a family-owned company and global leader in wine and spirits with a deep commitment to providing the highest-quality, sustainable products for every occasion, and a goal of serving joy in moments that matter. The company has been an advocate for William Paterson University for more than five years and has been an active supporter of the university’s mission and its students.

For ticket information, click here.